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VAS

A glimpse at President Kibaki's retirement

STUDIES
By | August 30th 2010

By Ted Malanda

With all this excitement about the New Constitution, no one remembers that in a few months, our president will retire.

We forget that the man from Othaya has been too busy to frequent his village. What that means is that many things could be wrong, including shrubs sprouting on the leaking roof of his grass thatched house.

Mercifully, being a long serving MP, he has a tidy sum in the Bunge Cooperative so he doesn’t have to wait for his pension. So I imagine him withdrawing his savings, piling up his household stuff on a battered government lorry and arriving one chilly evening in Othaya.

There, he discovers that while he was away, the neigbours tinkered with farm boundaries to the extent that the path to his home is now so narrow that the lorry can’t access his gate.

The next morning, he wakes up to loud silence. No one is calling. There are no delegations apart from idlers who want money for chang’aa. In fact, the only person who arrives with a serious problem is his next door neighbour. Apparently, the retired president’s goats strayed into his farm, again, and he is livid.

Idle men

After placating him with a few bank notes, he takes a cup of tea, grabs a walking stick and ambles to the market. There, he is shocked to discover that his few remaining age mates are toothless and that he is mainly in the company of young, idle, inebriated men.

‘Give me a pound, mutongoria,’ they ask. But the retired man is not about to give loafers money. He almost calls them kumbafu.

To his surprise, he discovers that villagers don’t hold him in high esteem.

"You were a big man in government but what did you do for us? Nothing! Which of our sons did you employ? Which factories did you bring? Which projects?’ He tries to explain, then realises no one wants to listen anyway.

The next day, he wakes up with gusto. He sets up a chicken ‘project’ behind Mama Lucy’s kitchen. He also digs up a vegetable garden.

"These villagers are jokers," he muses.

"There is a lot of money to be made here!"

Obako and Sons

Later in the day, he meets someone who is selling a matatu and they clinch the deal after exchanging cash in a muddy banking hall in Othaya. And then to complete his investment plan, he takes lease on a new building at the market and opens a grocery store – Obako and Sons.

Three months later, all his chicken and cabbages are stolen. Then the matatu is grounded. Of course no one comes to his shop to ‘teach him a lesson’ for feeling hot when he was a big man. What’s more? Whatever the few shoppers want - and on credit too - is never in stock like Blueband ya Kadogo.

A year later, a letter is published in the local newspapers.

"My father worked faithfully for the government for over 50 years but they have refused to pay his pension. We are suffering. My contact is [email protected]

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